Breast cancer gets a guernsey at home of footbal

The Age reports this morning on the wonderful efforts of Breast Cancer Network of Australia CEO, Lyn Swinburne. Swinburne, herself a breast cancer survivor, has organised for 10,500 women wearing pink ponchos to gather on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the home of Australian football) before the Melbourne – Adelaide match next friday evening.
As well as representing a fantastic opportunity to raise breast cancer awareness, this represents the broadening views of the Australian Footbal League which has worked very hard over recent years to present itself and the game as equally appealling to women as to men.
chriscurnow.com was launched, nearly a year ago, with a (what we at least thought was a ) scathing attack on the sexual attitudes of some of the players in the AFL (two of who had just recently been accused of rape). Whilst we are convinced that sexist attitudes towards women are still prevalent amongst some sections of the playing group, we applaud the efforts of the league to bring a broader perspective to the game.
(The Age report also notes that 100 people will wear blue ponchos representing the number of men diagnosed with breast cancer annually.)
It’s almost enough to make us want to attend the game.

Another (please keep me awake) iPod killer?

We note that Bleeding Edge reports on another so called (excuse me if I go to sleep here) iPod killer.

Why is every new MP3 capable release labelled the latest iPod killer? I think
Bleeding Edge has caught the disease. chriscurnow.com thinks perchance this
represents the repressed guilt of those “evil empire” patrons who love the iPod
but have deep psychological problems in bringing themselves to admit it. They’re
addicted to iPod but they have spent their lives belittling Apple and everything
that comes out of it. They desperately hope that "their side" will
come up with something about 10% as good as the iPod so they can adopt it finally
as the iPod killer and relieve themselves of the guilt of association with the
"enlightened empire."

Now of course, we hasten to point out that Bleeding Edge has always been fair
and even handed in the empire wars. The ‘Edge has consistently stated that in
its latest incarnations, Mac OS X
is the best deskttop OS going around. (Hey I might be paraphrasing a bit there
but that’s pretty close.) We also point out that we have the greatest respect
for Bleeding Edge. So in that sense it bemuses us that Bleeding Edge is so readily
jumping on the iPod killer bandwagon.

Now the Nokia n series phones of
which Bleeding Edge speaks so highly look like great phones. One of these may
well be chriscurnow.com’s next mobile appendage. But to seriously suggest the
series as potential iPod killers is seriously deluded. Can you really imagine
millions of teenages pleading with their parents to buy them a Nokia n series phone?

Harpsicord amongst the cannons

For as long as I can remember, one of the deepest connections I have been able to make with my soul is through music – particularly in making my own music on my piano. I have never learnt to play a whole Sonata, but I have it in mind to one day learn Mozart’s K331 which climaxes with the emotional Rondo Alla Turca. Now my history is not great but this piece has to do with a Turkish Invasion of Vienna and represents the triumphant march of the conquerors into the city,
I was making an effor to play this piece last night, frustrated by my lack of technical ability and consistent practice. But I did get a sense in my soul of the strength of emotion it contained.
It put me in mind of a radio interview I heard while driving around Adelaide almost exactly two years ago. The program was Margaret Throsby’s interview with Professor Richard Langhorne (Director of the Center for Global Change and Governance at Rutgers University). The interview itself was fascinating, but Throsby asks each guest to bring a selection of their favourite music. One of Langhorne’s was a 1941 recording of Wanda Landowska playing Scarlatti’s Sonata in D, Kk490 (L206) on harpsichord in Paris as the Nazis were laying siege to the city.
In the recording you can clearly hear the sound of artillery fire getting closer as the performance proceeds. And, as Throsby noted at the conclusion of the track, you could sense Landoswka’s Jewish defiance increasing as the sound of the cannon fire increased. In just that it was a moving performance – reminded to me by Mozart’s rendition of an invasion.
Not for one moment does chriscurnow.com want to glorify or romanticise war. However, in the midst of human suffering it is well to be reminded by the resiliance of the human spirit.
PS, The recording is available as Pearl GEMS 0106. I found it available and ordered it last night from The Compact Disc Club @ The Woods.

Latest addition to the family

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Here is Oliver, the latest addition to the Curnow family. We have had pets before. But never a dog! We’ve had goldfish, guinnea pigs and rabbits (x4 who all died) but never a dog. Miriam is the youngest Curnow and really wanted rabbits nearly ten years ago. Every one of them, even Lucky, died for one reason or another – mostly because of mixomitosis (sp?).

Rachel, the oldest Curnow, desperately wanted a dog when she was 13. But with the Curnow lifestyle at the time it simply wasn’t possible. We could never guarantee that someone would be home every day.

Then, about a year ago, Miriam, the youngest Curnow, started asking for a dog. About Christmas time, we agreed that she could have one. She decided she needed to get it during the holidays so she could look after it as it adjusted to its new surroundings. Miriam had a false start last weekend when, after she had had her heart set on a Beagle, the Vet she rang suggested that a Beagle may not be the best choice for a first dog. After putting herslef to bed for and hour in disappointement she got back to the task and set her self on a Maltese-Shitzu cross.

A quick search in the Trading Post and there was one in Dromana. So down she went and fell in love with the dog you see here immediatley. The owner said the puppy would be ready to pick up on Sunday, but that was brought forward to Saturday and so home came ‘Pups” yesterday.

A day in coming, after consulting the whole family, Miriam decided on the name ‘Oliver’. So here he is. He is so cute.

Update on Spam blocking

A few days ago I posted regarding how good I found MT-Blacklist, a spam blocking plugin for the Moveable Type publishing system.
Well thanks to a Bleeding Edge Entry I found out about SpamLookup. Developed by Brad Choate, SpamLookup is actually a combination of previous plugins, bringing together centralised blacklist blocking, DNS checking and additional comment moderation features. MT-Blacklist author, Jay Allen, has this to say:

Many times, MT-Blacklist has been characterized as the “Swiss Army knife of weblog spam defenses” for Movable Type by a lot of different people, and rightly so.

But if that’s true, SpamLookup, a new plugin by Brad Choate, is the whole damn Swiss Army.

(Read the whole entry here.)
Nothing is getting through now. I’m sure I will get some eventually but it is a quantum leap over even MT-Blacklist my previously considered best anti spam tool for Moveable Type.

The Breast Blog

Regular readers of chriscurnow.com will know that one of our goals is to support greater mutual understanding between men and women (and peoples of all kinds, races and backgrounds for that matter.)
I have recently come across The Breast Blog – an enterprise of Sue Richards in Canada. This is a Blog dedicated to issues around breasts as seen by women. If you’re looking for titilation, you won’t find it here. This is by women for women. But it is also good for men to read.
Goodness knows, most of us spend enough time looking at breasts, wouldn’t it be good to find out what women think about that – among other things?
Another of Sue’s projects is the Breast of Canada calendar. You’ll see I’ve added a link on the left. Here is the descripttion in her own words:

Breast of Canada is an elegant, fine art photography calendar designed to inspire you to greater awareness about breast health and breast cancer prevention. Artist created and grassroots based. Absolutely guaranteed to inspire conversation.

Having spent a couple of hours browsing Sue’s site, I have no hesitation in recommending it.
Please though, if you want leave “ga ga, lower brain dribble” [as Sue calls it], go somewhere else.

Go away spammers

A by-product of the upgrade to the new server was opening chriscurnow.com up to trackback spammers.
Oh dear, I was getting 20 – 30 a day.
Moveable Type v3 certainly makes it easier to delete trackback spam but it doesn’t stop it from getting through.
When I was using Moveable Type v2.x I had installed Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist 1.x. It worked well but required a lot of maintenance. This version of MTB also doesn’t work with Moveable Type v3.x. So, I finally got around to installing MT-Blacklist v2. All of a sudden, no more trackback spam. Well done Jay. And, hey MTB v2 is a huge improvement over v1!
If you’re using Moveable Type you probably now about it, but just in case you don’t here is their article on combatting spam.
Elise also discusses the topic here.

Photo Album is back up

The Photo Album is back up after the upgrade to the new server.
It only took me two weeks (or was it three.) It actually only took a couple of hours of actual time. I didn’t want to reload all the photos, so a lot of time was spent in UNIX, looking around to see how I had organised everything on the old server, and copying the setup to the new server. UNIX is great, but I’m no expert and I have to keep remembering the instructions. (eg “If I copy files to a non existent directory, does UNIX create the directory, or do I have to MKDIR first?” – it actullay creates the directory, but I didn’t find that out until I had done it the long way quite a few times ;-()
Thanks again to Elise for the detailed tutorial.